Bulk-buy United miles for huge savings on business, first class flights

Bulk-buy United miles for huge savings on business, first class flights

UPDATE | A new United Airlines 'buy miles' promotion is underway, giving bonuses of up to 75% on MileagePlus purchases through 2:59pm (Sydney time) on July 4 2017 which can then be redeemed for travel on Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, United Airlines and other Star Alliance members.

Buying 5,000-24,000 miles comes with a 35% bonus, while buying 25,000-85,000 miles attracts the full 75% boost.

Your best option for buying in bulk? Pick up 80,000 miles (rather than the full 85,000 miles) at a cost of US$3,010 (A$3,975), delivered with 60,000 bonus miles on top (your 75% bonus) for a total haul of 140,000 United miles.

That's precisely enough for a return first class trip from Sydney to Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong with Thai Airways (80,000 miles), plus a return business class trip to the same destinations with Thai Airways or Singapore Airlines (60,000 miles): two trips up the front for less than you'd pay for one at retail prices, although be prepared to cover taxes and fees of $50-100 per flight when booking using real money.

Or, if you're happy to fly business class on both return flights, you can save some cash by buying a smaller 69,000 miles instead, with 51,750 bonus miles on the side at a total cost of US$2,596 (A$3,429): churning out 120,750 miles in total: more than enough for those two business class return trips.

Just a tip: while business class redemptions are indeed possible on selected Singapore Airlines flights (telephone booking required), look to Thai Airways for first class bookings between Australia and Asia as these aren't available via SQ.

The article below, while written around a previous 25-40% discount promotion, explains more about the process of buying and using United MileagePlus Miles to book flights across the Star Alliance.

PREVIOUS | Want to fly from Australia to Bangkok in Thai Airways' first class cabin for $2,000? How about business class to Singapore with Singapore Airlines for around $1,600, or Sydney to New York for less than $4,000?

Those are some of the amazing deals you can line up courtesy of United Airlines' latest promotional sale of MileagePlus frequent flyer miles.

UA is putting MileagePlus points on the block at massively discounted rates which, when redeemed on award flights with UA or any of its Star Alliance partners, deliver a saving of between 50-70% over regular ticket prices.

But you'll have to move fast: United's promotion closes at 5pm on Tuesday February 18, EST (that's midnight February 17 in UA's home base of Chicago).

So what’s the deal?

Purchase anywhere from 15,000 to 39,000 United miles and you’ll receive a 25% cash discount on the usual asking price.

Pony up for 40,000 to 150,000 miles and the savings escalate to 40%.

(And as UA won't let you buy more than 150,000 miles per calendar year, you may as well max out and grab all of those points while you can.)

Those rates are good enough on their own, but when coupled with the recent Mileage Plus redemption rate improvements for Aussies heading abroad you'll land some incredible discounts at the pointy end – if you know where to look, of course!

While you'll still need to cough up a reasonably small amount for taxes and surcharges, the overall savings from bulk-buying  MileagePlus miles under this promotion speak for themselves.

Here are our five top picks for using your haul of newly-acquired UA miles.

Australia to North America

United Airlines offers one-way redemptions from Australia to anywhere in the United States for 70,000 Mileage Plus miles in business class and 80,000 in first class.

Although that annual purchase cap of 150,000 miles prevents you from buying enough miles for a return journey in first class, you can pocket 140,000 miles for around US$3,160 – enough for a return trip between Sydney and New York in UA business class (below).

$4,000 for Sydney-New York in business class? That'll do nicely...

How do those prices stack up against United's regular pricing? Flying that same Sydney-New York business class return trip in May would set you back A$5,558, which is just shy of US$5,000 – so you'll pocket a cool $2,000 by trading your cash for miles and redeeming them for the same flight.

Also read: United upgrades Sydney, Melbourne flights to Boeing 777s in April

Within the USA

International-grade travel between Los Angeles or San Francisco and New York is also yours for a song on United's transcontinental 'p.s' flights, which boast fully lie-flat seats and 16 inch video screens in UA's BusinessFirst cabin (below).

One-way ‘Saver Award’ redemptions are priced at 25,000 miles in BusinessFirst, so under the MileagePlus promotion the 50,000 miles needed for a return flight would cost US$1,129.

Compared to United's asking price of US$3,572 for a BusinessFirst fare in May, that’s a saving of nearly 70%!

If you'd rather conserve those miles for the long trek between Australia and the USA, you could book an economy seat on the same UA service for 12,500 miles.

Of course, you've got hundreds of other domestic UA routes to choose from. If you regularly do business in the USA we'd suggest seriously stocking up on MileagePlus points ahead of your next trips.

Also read: United Airlines set for US transcon turf war with American, JetBlue, Delta

Australia to Singapore

Closer to home you can use your MileagePlus miles to book some amazing fares with UA partner Singapore Airlines.

A one-way trip from Australia to Singapore with Singapore Airlines is costed at 17,500 miles in economy and 30,000 in business – though you won't be able to luxe it up in a first class suite on SQ's Airbus A380, as these redemptions aren't typically available to MileagePlus users.

As such, US$1,354 sees you settled very comfortably in business class.

These same flights would usually cost around A$4,262 in business on a return journey, using dates in May.

The only catch is that you'll need to call United Airlines to make these particular redemptions, as SQ award seats are not available online.

Australia to Thailand

The same mileage purchase and redemption rates above apply for business class flights between Australia and Thailand.

If you'd rather stump for first class, that's 40,000 miles each way, so US$1,806 would buy enough miles for a return journey in first class.

These same flights would usually cost around AU$5,605 in first class and AU$4,262 in business (using dates in May) – again, a considerable saving over the retail fare.

Based on travel in May, first class on Thai Airways from Sydney to Bangkok would usually set you back A$5,708, with business class (below) hitting A$3,997.

The cost to you if you splurge right now on discounted MileagePlus points? Around A$2,000 for first class return and $1,500 in business class.

Australia to South Africa

Star Alliance member South African Airways flies daily between Perth and Johannesburg, with one-way redemptions available for 85,000 MileagePlus miles in business class and 50,000 miles in economy.

Although you won’t be able to buy enough miles for a round trip in business, this might be an option to consider if you already have at least 20,000 miles in the kitty.

On that basis you’ll be able to grow your balance to 170,000 miles for US$3,386 – enough to take that business class trip. With the cheapest return business class fare showing at AU$5,052 in May, it’s a great find.

But before you buy...

As with any reward program, award availability is never guaranteed on specific flights. It tends to help if you’re a little flexible on dates or have the time to take an indirect flight.

To sidestep this, United’s website can be used to search for flight awards on specific dates before you have the necessary number of miles sitting in your account – so if you can only travel on a particular date, you’ll be able to check that an award is available before shelling out for the miles.

Also, if you’re aiming to attain or retain your Star Alliance Gold or Silver status, be mindful that flights booked with miles won’t count towards your Premier qualifying miles or qualifying segments under the Mileage Plus program.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter – we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

20 Comments

  • Hugo

    Hugo

    14 Feb, 2014 01:39 pm

    Please note that the chances of *actually* getting suites-class availability on a Singapore A380 using United miles are Buckley's. 

    Thai availability is pretty good. Singapore availability on their "regional" planes is good. But A380 suites are almost always blocked off.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Feb, 2014 01:25 am

    Thanks for sharing Hugo.

    Even though this is mentioned nowhere on the UA website, we've received advice suggesting that SQ Suites aren't normally available to UA members for redemptions – though are available to KrisFlyer members at 'saver' rates – so we tweaked the article a little this afternoon to reflect this.

    (And yes, Thai Airways availability is quite decent between Sydney and Bangkok – I'm hoping to try out their first class with some of the miles that I've bought!)

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  • pab2025

    pab2025

    14 Feb, 2014 02:39 pm

    Also something of worth to note is that united release very little premium seats on the Australia - USA route, and getting decent connections through Asia using star alliance can be tricky. 

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  • P.B.

    mr_pb

    14 Feb, 2014 06:41 pm

    Are we talking about limited dates available for award seats, or limited in the sense that seats get snatched up quickly? Was about to book a flight to LAX on QF soon but for savings as much as this I might give UA a try, but now quite discouraged if chances of redemption are slim...

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Feb, 2014 01:17 am

    Hi mr_pb,

    It really depends on your travel dates and which cabin you're after – for example, I can see availability in First on UA from Sydney to LA in September, with economy available on many more dates (and Business scattered here and there).

    As the article suggests, search the UA website to make sure that your desired award is available on your preferred travel date(s) before you buy the miles – there's no point buying them if the flight you want has no more award seats left!

    -Chris

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  • tmsmile

    tmsmile

    14 Feb, 2014 02:46 pm

    If you're going to buy miles and use it towards award travel as discounted first/business, then you'd be better off buying US Airways DM. They're officially liquidating *A inventory...

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  • bmc

    bmc

    14 Feb, 2014 02:57 pm

    Hugo, is SQ A380 business class generally available?

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    17 Feb, 2014 09:41 am

    Nope, it's just as unavailable.

    The "regional" business class (on the A330 and the 777-non-ER) is very comfortable for a daytime flight, mind you, and availabilty on these is quite frequent (at least out of MEL, not sure about the mix of planes going to other cities, but here we get two "long-haul" and two "regional" SQ flights a day because SQ can't decide how far away we are.)

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  • casanovawa

    casanovawa

    14 Feb, 2014 03:25 pm

    How does buying miles this way stack up compared if I book a USDM redemption and then buy UA miles using the accelerator feature??

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  • Ashan

    Singaporeair

    14 Feb, 2014 06:06 pm

    Will the miles required for these flights continue to be the same?

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Feb, 2014 01:31 am

    Ashan, are you asking if the MileagePlus redemption rates are set to change soon?

    If so, the redemption rates were actually revised earlier this month after the airline provided a reasonable period of notice (and the article was written using the new rates), so it would be unlikely that they'd be changed again soon.

    Of course, United could always revise the mileage tables again further down the track – so perhaps hoarding your miles for flights planned in years to come isn't a safe bet... the best miles are those that are put to good use!

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  • cssaus

    cssaus

    14 Feb, 2014 09:22 pm

    I was under the impression that UA miles couldn't be redeemed for SQ flights in business or in first class that were operated by A380's or 777-300ER's.

    Can someone confirm if this is the case?

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  • edy4eva

    edy4eva

    14 Feb, 2014 10:05 pm

    This is a largely misleading article through which Ausbt is trying to draw crowds to their website. SQ F is off limits to other Star Alliance partners, and availability in business is only possible within 14 days. Do NOT buy United MP miles.

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  • cssaus

    cssaus

    14 Feb, 2014 10:08 pm

    That's pretty much what I thought was the case with SQ and partner redemptions on their flights.

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  • Mal

    Mal

    14 Feb, 2014 11:40 pm

    Edy4eva: please point out the parts of this article that are mislead? The article points out that you cannot get SQ F at least on the A380, and if "and availability in business is only possible within 14 days", well that doesn't make the article misleading in any way at all. I actually found it very useful, especially for TG to BKK because that's a route I expect to be doing a few times in Q2 due to a project I have going on there. So this article has actually saved me a LOT of money!

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Feb, 2014 02:20 am

    Great to hear that you were able to put this deal to good use Mal!

    Are you planning to fly in business, first, or a mixture of both?

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  • Mal

    Mal

    15 Feb, 2014 04:20 pm

    Chris, probably business most of the time but I will want to spil myself in TG F at least once!

    By the way your article doesn't seem to list F prices on the 'using points' basis for Australia-Thailand, says these are the same as for the Singapore flights but the Singapore section only has J pricing?

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Feb, 2014 05:12 pm

    That seems perfectly reasonable Mal! Why not sample F when it's only a couple of hundred dollars more than J...

    The F pricing is listed in the first par of Australia-Thailand:

    "The same mileage purchase and redemption rates above apply for flights between Australia and Thailand, though first class can be had for 40,000 miles each way."

    But yes, from Australia, Singapore and Thailand both use the 'South Asia' rate in MileagePlus, so economy would be 17.5k on Thai in each direction, and business would also be 30k (a la Aus-Singapore).

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Feb, 2014 02:15 am

    edy4eva,

    Rather than to "draw crowds to (our) website", I actually wrote this article to share a fantastic deal with our readers in the hope that some could use it to their advantage – if you look below, Mal has found a way to make the deal work for him, and I'm sure he's not the only one.

    As Mal has already asked you, which parts of my work do you claim to be "largely misleading"?

    Given your notes on SQ Suites (when the article already reflected as much), methinks you may have just skipped to the comments instead of actually reading the article proper?

    Yes, the article first ran earlier today with a redemption rate for SQ F – though after receiving advice that this may not be possible (even though any such restriction isn't noted on the UA website), we tweaked the article to reflect this. However, at the time you commented, these changes had already been made hours prior...

    If your tip on timed availability for business awards is indeed accurate, it's handy to know – although still doesn't make the article 'misleading'.

    Above, we note that "award availability is never guaranteed on specific flights" and advise that "if you can only travel on a particular date, you’ll be able to check that an award is available (on the United website) before shelling out for the miles."

    (In other words, if you can't find an award on a route, airline and date of your choosing, don't waste your money on miles that you won't be able to use for that purpose.)

    -Chris

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  • edy4eva

    edy4eva

    15 Feb, 2014 10:13 am

    Hi Chris,
    I first read the article when you guys published it but only commented when I had the time to, so apologies if you've updated it and did not notice the update.

    I am sorry for sounding harsh, but the reality is that SQ does NOT release J inventory for Oceania and long haul flights to other program parenters until 2 weeks out, something that LH does with their F product (throughout their network) but thankfully not J. It's a similar story with TG F on the A380 (e.g. BKK-HKG, BKK-EU)

    I was quite specific in what I said as I felt it did mislead the readers into thinking doing the suggested on SQ is possible. I only made reference to SQ.

    I would not claim something which isn't true. The only opinion in my earlier comment was the bit about drawing crowds in.

    Keep up the good work. But I suggest if you're going to make articles like this to run a thourough search on the topic to avoid misleading anyone, or having to tweak the article post publishing after it's a bit too late (you never know who might have jumped the gun and purchased UA MP miles eyeing that F redemption on SQ). 

    Regards 

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    15 Feb, 2014 09:42 am

    These flights will not be mileage accruable?

    Seems like a waste not to go the whole hog, especially when you're paying $4,000 plus to fly to North America. Think of all thoes points you would have gained had you purchased a ticket outright. It could lock you into Argean Gold for the next three years.

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  • edy4eva

    edy4eva

    15 Feb, 2014 01:22 pm

    These are redemption flights. The only program that had a backdoor to it was BMI Diamond Club where it was possible to retro claim on a redemption (some argue it was the reason it ran into losses). And who cares about status or mileage accural when you could in theory fly that cheap in business for that low?!

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    15 Feb, 2014 01:30 pm

    That's my point though. It's not that cheap in the scheme of things. Seems a waste. Would be worthwhile to use point ex AU then purchase return Business class back to AU, i.e. You'll always have a flight out of AU and by pass the higher prices here.

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  • Al Glidden

    AlG

    15 Feb, 2014 11:25 am

    I read this with interest because I've started flying semi-regularly to Singapore this year for business, and using SQ mainly because of of their choice of flights and because they are a Virgin Australia partner and a few years ago I switched all my domestic flying from QF to VA. Problem is that their business class is great and better than QF to Singapore but expensive but unlike Qantas SQ doesn't have premium economy so I end up in economy.

    So the idea of 'bulk buying' UA miles to trade on low-cost SQ J seats really caught my eye, but people saying you can't get J on SQ using redemtpion threw me.

    I entered into Google "Can I redeem UA miles on SQ business class" and the first link I got back is from 'Lucky' at One Mile At A Time. Now this is a guy who really knows his stuff, I reckon nobody would know better than him.

    Here is his summary of what he has to say:

    Anyway, back to redeeming partner airlines miles for travel on Singapore Airlines — there’s a common misconception out there that Singapore Airlines doesn’t release any first or business class award space to partner airlines, and that’s simply not true.

    They definitely release much less space to partner airlines than to their own members, but there are many routes on which they do release space.

    Singapore Airlines does release saver business class award space to their partner airlines pretty regularly to the following destinations:

    • Intra-Asia routes
    • Australia/New Zealand
    • The Middle East & India
    • Cairo, Copenhagen, and Istanbul

    You can read the whole lengthy and detailed post below
    http://boardingarea.com/onemileatatime/2013/11/04/redeeming-star-alliance-miles-travel-singapore-airlines-premium-cabins/

    But he makes it very clear that SQ J is definitely available for redemption miles.

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  • edy4eva

    edy4eva

    15 Feb, 2014 01:33 pm

    It's irrelavant what Ben Schlappig says on his website because what I suggested earlier isn't coming from void either, it's coming from experience. The point of this discussion are the prized premium J/F seats from Australia. SQ makes seats on all of their 'premium J' aircraft available to other partners within 14 days. I have helped many friends book these in the recent past through various partner programs. A couple recent examples are CAI-DXB-SIN-MEL on 1 Jan (when seats were impossible to find), but that seat only came to light 14 days prior to that date. You have to understand that it's going to be a risky business. Having said the above, I truely believe that buying UA miles is poor value for us Aussies because there are a better and cheaper way than guarantee J and F seats on SQ months away.

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  • joakleigh

    joakleigh

    15 Feb, 2014 12:10 pm

    Hi - do United miles have any expiry? Or do they remain current as long as there is activity on the account within 18 months?

    I won't be travelling on these miles anytime soon, I just want to make sure that the miles I buy won't expire before I get a chance to use them.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Feb, 2014 05:22 pm

    Hi joakleigh,

    If you earn or redeem miles at least once every 18 months, your balance will never expire.

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  • petriojala

    petriojala

    16 Feb, 2014 12:09 pm

    We have some US domestic flights planned and UA flies them direct, about half a dozen flights a day.

    I looked the flights with $$ and UA charges $400 for oneway, about about the same for a return.  Ugh.

    I looked the same flights as a reward flight and with this promo the miles will cost about the same.  The half mileage saver rewards were available two days in April.

    I guess it's the same with the US airlines, one has seriously plan using miles in advance to get any advantage -- even with a great promo like this one.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    17 Feb, 2014 12:44 am

    That's unfortunate petriojala!

    At least you checked pricing and availability before coughing up for the miles – though even if you can find the right award flights, if the cost is basically the same, you'd be better off just paying for the fare and growing your mileage balance at the same time.

    That aside, it really depends on when and where you want to use your miles – there's plenty of availability between Australia and Asia, though as you mentioned the USA, remember that April includes spring break and Easter – so flights around the country are likely to have higher loads than usual (and thus, less reward seats available).

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  • Flyman

    Flyman

    16 Feb, 2014 05:16 pm

    Just tried to buy some points and it told me it could not complete the transaction due to security  reasons

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    17 Feb, 2014 12:35 am

    Hmm... that's an interesting one!

    I bought my miles on Friday night without issue, and they landed in my account this evening.

    Have you tried calling your credit card company to see if the transaction was blocked as suspicious? If so, there's your problem – and if not, it indicates that something is amiss on United's end.

    Alternately, try again but put a 0 in front of your Australian post code (so that it's 5 digits), which may get the credit card address verification to approve.

    Failing that, perhaps try a different credit card – or even the same card on a different computer (your IP address may be dynamic/shared and may have been flagged as a spammer or for malicious use in the past, even though it probably wasn't you).

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  • Flyman

    Flyman

    17 Feb, 2014 08:00 am

    Thanks Chris for your ideas. This is the answer I got when I emailed them:

    "Thank you for your email.

    New MileagePlus accounts must undergo a review process before miles can be purchased.  We will contact you as soon as your account has been cleared to purchase miles.

    Thank you for your loyalty to United MileagePlus."

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    19 Feb, 2014 03:50 pm

    Interesting... were you able to buy them in the end?

    (The offer has expired now.)

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  • Flyman

    Flyman

    19 Feb, 2014 06:35 pm

    No. Still not "approved". A real bummer!

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    20 Feb, 2014 09:31 am

    Wow, that's disappointing!

    Had you only signed up for MileagePlus after reading about the offer, or had you used your MileagePlus account for travel before? (Just curious.)

    In my case, I'd credited a few flights with United, Air Canada, Lufthansa and Austrian in the past, and didn't have to wait for a "review" before buying miles through this promo (though the account was created in 2012 – perhaps this "review" was done back then without me knowing, even though I hadn't bought UA miles before).

    In either case, it's a shame that you missed out – if I come across something similar in the future and we happen to write it up, I'll try to remember to comment here with a link so that you get an alert.

    :)

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  • dazzle_perth

    dazzle_perth

    12 Mar, 2014 09:35 pm

    Hi all, hoping you'd be able to help with a question;:

    Where I redeem miles on UA for a J or F seat and where I have no status on UA, when I check in at the airport, can I then input my SQ KF #  ( where I am PPS) for status recognition and access to status benefits (although, it  may be arguable that a J or F tix would accord the same bennies anyway), or does the redemption tix need to correspond to the FF program to which it was redeemed from?

    Any insights much appreciated!
     

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  • Ashan

    Singaporeair

    12 Mar, 2014 10:39 pm

    Benefits are never based on how the ticket was purchased. It relies on what card you hold and present at the counter. So travelling with PPS on a UA redemption flight from KF points will still entitle you to all the usual PPS benefits that are carried across Star Alliance airlines. Although, when you're travelling J or F there aren't many more benefits...you have most of them already! :)

    P.S. This will apply to most Star Alliance airlines, but we are talking about UA here... who knows what their policies are!! They could be really strict... But I'm pretty sure it'll be fine!

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  • DRW

    DRW

    18 May, 2014 09:10 am

    Is this a better deal than the Avianca one, for say Australia to South East Asia or US domestic?

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  • leegale

    leegale

    21 Jul, 2014 05:19 pm

    Some questions....

    1) How does this deal work for upgrades? I assume United points can only be used for upgrades on United flights (i.e. UE ticketed)... or can you use United Points on Singapore Airline tickted (i.e. SQ) flights?

    2) Will you have the availability of seats if you are a UE base-level member (i.e. no gold/silver status)?

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  • leegale

    leegale

    21 Jul, 2014 05:54 pm

    Think I might have answered my own question #1 > http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/mileageplus/awards/upgrade/saua.aspx

    Upgradeable booking classes include Business class (C and D) and Economy class (Y and B), as well as the additional fare classes listed below:

    Singapore Airlines - S, Z and J class

    Except for flights on all A380 and 777-300 aircraft

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  • leegale

    leegale

    21 Jul, 2014 06:14 pm

    Hmm, and the upgrade costs look terrible vs buying the ticket outright according to slide 6 of this guide > http://www.united.com/web/format/pdf/United-Award-Chart-02-01-14.pdf

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  • andrew84

    andrew84

    10 Jun, 2015 12:17 pm

    agree about TG availability, but this seems to be a bit of a lazy update - SQ availability is harder than QF F imo.

     

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Jun, 2015 12:45 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    We routinely update our 'buying miles' articles with the latest details in a dedicated section at the top, which allows readers to see both the current offer and the in-depth 'how-to' which we've previously published.

    Research-heavy articles such as this require a significant amount of time to produce, and if we were to fully re-write the article every time a promotion came along, we'd have less time to create other content.

    We feel that the 'update' process provides the best of both worlds – giving readers the latest information while reducing the time required to provide that information.

    Regarding award availability, we've noted in the article that this can vary from flight to flight (and thus airline to airline) and that readers should ensure award seats are available on their preferred routes and travel dates before buying miles.

    -Chris

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  • andrew84

    andrew84

    10 Jun, 2015 01:02 pm

    hi Chris,

    thanks for taking the time to reply. and yes i understand where you are coming from.

    that said, this comment "While business class redemptions are available on Singapore Airlines" is the one i take issue with.

    Someone skimming the article might think they're on a great thing, only to be left holding the baby when they realise they can only get to SIN through BKK on an angled flat TG flight. Albeit at a very reasonable 40k miles.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Jun, 2015 01:25 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    The full quote you've referenced is "While business class redemptions are available on Singapore Airlines, look towards Thai Airways for first class bookings between Australia and Asia, as these aren't available via SQ".

    This explains at the onset that miles can be used to book SQ business class where seats are available (but over the phone rather than online, as highlighted in the body), but that they can't be used to book SQ first class to avoid building up false hope.

    We can't be held responsible if a reader chooses to skim through the article without reading it properly and misses a key piece of information that has been provided, although this is again flagged in the body which gives people a second chance to spot it:

    "... though you won't be able to luxe it up in a first class suite on SQ's Airbus A380, as these redemptions aren't typically available to MileagePlus users."

    And again, there's the catch-all at the end that encourages readers to only buy miles where there's an opportunity to actively redeem them.

    -Chris

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  • Michael Kao

    Michael Kao

    12 Jun, 2015 04:05 pm

    Hi Chris:

    I think what Andrew is getting at, is that SQ business class from Australia is very rare now. Since Dec last year, it seems SQ has blocked all the business class seats departing from Australian east coast to their partners, not just A380. There are occasional seats available from PER at T-14, but virtually nothing from SYD/MEL/BNE. Kris Flyer is the only way to redeem those seats. Economy class is wide open though, but it might be cheaper to buy revenue ticket if you want economy. 

    While I agree it is the readers' responsibility to ensure flight is available before they purchase miles, I feel it is also important to update the readers (mostly will be Australian) that buying miles to redeem business class on SQ is virtually impossible now if departing SYD/MEL/BNE. The same applies to lifemiles. 

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  • Khendy_23

    Khendy_23

    1 Jul, 2016 09:41 am

    Hi Chris, 

    I just rang united AUS number to try to see if i can get SQ business ticket for two adults SYD SIN for april 2017. I was advised that SQ dont give out business class on award ticket for long haul. They have short haul business within Asia available however.  Long haul economy is widely available. 

    Otherwise, as you said, it will be a good deal for AUS traveller into Asia.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    1 Jul, 2016 09:45 am

    Hi Khendy, that's incorrect and I suggest you hang up and call again (and if they say the same, insist that they actually perform a search) – awards are available on all SQ aircraft apart from the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER (granted, however, that's what usually flies to Sydney). Aim for an Airbus A330 or Boeing 777-200 flight where available, or consider flying from another city.

    Personally, I've used United miles to book SQ from Brisbane to Hong Kong in recent months and did so without incident over the phone, but called United MileagePlus in the USA to be on the safe side (aircraft types were A330 from Brisbane and Boeing 777-200 from Singapore to HK).

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  • Khendy_23

    Khendy_23

    1 Jul, 2016 11:17 am

    Hi Chris, 

    I did ring back the AU number and US number and ask them to search different days. Found one afternoon flight on Friday! The AUS did it (Singaporean accent - maybe diverted there), then tried my luck with US call centre and ended up the same day for biz tix.

    I requested the booking and purchased the miles on the spot. It takes 48 hours to get the miles processed so hopefully the seats still available because award booking need to be issued right away.

    Thanks for the tip! US$1128 incld tax  for two pax biz one way SYD SIN JKT if seats still avail in two days.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    1 Jul, 2016 11:33 am

    Great to hear you were able to find an award that suits! Also remember that Thai Airways flies to Jakarta, so just in case the SQ award disappears and you're stuck with the miles, try doing a search online as availability on Thai is usually quite good out of Australia.

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  • Aleks

    Aleks

    17 Apr, 2016 09:46 pm

    Hi Chris.

    According to the update in this article (April 2016), another United Miles promotion is underway.

    Can you please confirm that there is indeed a United Buy Miles promotion currently on. I have looked and cannot find the promotion anywhere.

    Hope to hear back soon!

    Regards,

    Aleks.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    17 Apr, 2016 10:00 pm

    Hi Aleks, you will need to login to your account on United's 'buy miles' page to see the offer appropriate to you. It's also possible that as part of the targeting your account has been excluded from this particular offer.

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  • Aleks

    Aleks

    17 Apr, 2016 10:42 pm

    Thanks Chris. Sadly I don't see an offer. I also FB'ed United and they were not aware of any offers in their reply to me. Oh well, hopefully something will come along soon

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  • Khendy_23

    Khendy_23

    30 Jun, 2016 05:57 pm

    I just signed up with united mileage plus and can see the offer under buy,transfer, and give miles option. 

     

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  • Pip

    Pip

    11 Jul, 2016 11:53 am

    Hello, I bulk bought 75000 mileage plus points which gave me 150,000 with their current deal,  but may have acted hastily. I'm looking to fly from Melbourne to Memphis return next year, ideally business. Can you tell me if United are likely to drop the points required for such a flight. At the moment they're 175000 miles one way business. Thanks 

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    11 Jul, 2016 12:27 pm

    Hi Pip, United has not announced any upcoming changes to its redemption rates.

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  • Miguel

    simiguelito47

    21 Jun, 2017 12:53 pm

    I read that they have done these discount promos several times a year albeit at different rates.

    I presume that the award flights we buy won't generate status/elite credits for us working towards status / lifetime status? If so I might just pay for economy flights and just use miles to upgrade ... but in this case, can we spend UA miles but earn miles with another *A carrier?
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